Why God dressed the first couple

UCU’s Vision lends itself to everything we are or do. To be “A Centre of Excellence in the Heart of Africa” translates into who we are, what we do and how we do it. It is at its heart behavioural though it expresses itself in what we do. I want to particularly relate it to the provision in our Code of Conduct about Decent Dressing.
Admittedly, this subject will not lose to allure. For the fashions of the world are in a state of unending flux. For members of the sisterhood club, the offer of new fashions is big industry. Furthermore, appearances are our perennial preoccupation; it matters how we step out into the public arena. Even an authentic African heritage of an Afro hairstyle, popular in the 1970s, has been replaced with braids or ‘ropes’, which mimic Caucasian (muzungu) hair.
The result from all this is that ‘decent dressing’ is a moving target, and cannot be defined by what covers but by what it covers. Or we may say, the definition of decency, as ‘conformity to the accepted standard of propriety and modesty’ is hardly satisfactory. How can a Christian arrive at a workable understanding of decent dressing?
Genesis 3:21 is a good beginning in the discussion of decent dressing, “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” I will assume that God was giving them a decent presentation. The pertinent questions are, “Why was it necessary to dress them up? What was the purpose of dressing them?”
Adam and Eve were naked before they sinned. Their sin brought shame of their nakedness. They were alone in the garden yet they felt the need to cover up with leaves. When God came He covered them up more effectively.
This is the principal function of dressing: Dressing is for covering our nakedness. Decent dressing should then be defined according to how much it covers our nakedness.
Modern fashions on the other hand are designed to display our bodies. Sometimes they do so by exposure of the bare body, at other times they ensure that the covered parts of our bodies can be ‘read’ through the dress. Either way the purpose is to invoke images of the nakedness underneath.
This must not be used to blame the wearer for the bystander’s lustful mind. It remains true that there will be lust even if women dress in burqas. The mind is capable of undressing without uncovering. But indecent dressing positively tempts the devil, so to say. That people will lust anyway gives no license to provoke their lust.
That leads me to my second contention. For reasons beyond my understanding, young ladies think that you are smartest to the extent that you are uncovered. The young men, on the other hand, have thrown off well-fitted clothing in preference for sloppy, a tint unclean trousers, waist-less and shoe-less wear. They are covered alright but will hardly be called smart.
Clothing communicates! That is why swimwear is different from sportswear, and a gardener’s boots bespeak his occupation just as a builder’s helmet tells of his profession. When we meet the flesh peddlers on Nile Avenue in Kampala, we know what their trade is, without asking. Those who ask will be presumed customers.
Similarly for the ladies, I would say fashions could deny you the respectability and dignity befitting a lady. When you uncover or flaunt your body you are communicating that you are not wife material but slut material. Ask yourself, “What do you want to say to onlookers?”
While our cultural nuances seldom caricature men, I sometimes wonder if some of our young men have failed to grow out of their boyhood. Ironically men know when to be smart; it is the fashion drag. Men’s fashions change little but they know where their waists are located or what occasion demands a necktie. The rebellious boy has refused to grow!
Decency in dressing therefore goes beyond covering nakedness. It is also being presentable, that is, an appearance that communicates the dignity within you. The LORD changed the first couples’ leafy dressing to skin – it was an upgrade to decency. Leaves could hardly give sufficient cover of their nakedness. Decent dressing is respectable dressing and it affirms your human dignity.
In the case of an institution, it also portrays the image of your institution. We all carry UCU’s image, much more so the students. Society sees the quality and glory of a higher education institution principally through its students. What are you telling the external publics?
Decent dressing is written in UCU’s Code of Conduct because it is godly to cover your nakedness, and we glorify God when we are presentable. Let us cease copying unseemly habits that demean who we are as God’s image and as UCU. God bless you.

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